Paul Werner PortraitTONY’S MIME THEORY
A Master’s Thesis by Paul Werner

Paul Werner was a student in Tony Montanaro’s six week summer workshop in 1973. At that time, he was in grad school at the University of New Orleans and decided to change his master’s thesis to TONY’S MIME THEORY. He taped an interview of Tony and also interviewed Tony’s former partner, Michael Henry. The transcripts are included in the appendix of the thesis. Paul recently scanned the entire work and has made it available as a PDF.

Paul said that the workshop “Changed the way I thought about performance, creativity and theatre.” He went on to form a four person group called The Mime Squad which performed for some years. This inspiration and training was the foundation for Paul’s 49 year career as a high school theater teacher and community theatre director.

A short excerpt from Paul’s thesis:

The new territory was the mind and its investigation. By letting the body alone and relating himself to the imaginary conditions the mime could find a way of moving that was more honest, more truthful than merely imitating illusions. This new approach brought with it a new problem… how to sustain the imaginary reality with your mind and how to let that experience play your body. One method Montanaro used to achieve this was to work in such a way that the basic premise was not to move intentionally at all, to allow the body as an instrument to respond to the mind. In this way the mime completely involves himself with the premise and allows the body to reflect it. He tries not to interfere at all, not to manipulate the body, not to move deliberately, but to allow the movement to come from the situation, from the conditions of the premise that are set up. Thus the person thoroughly investigates the who, what, and where of the situation, making his movements more natural.

Click this link to download Paul’s 56 page thesis: TONY’S MIME THEORY.

Tony's Mime Theory Cover

1980 Mime Squad

The Mime Squad, founded by Paul Werner

This article was posted by Michael Menes


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